PICS: Historic SA money museum in mint condition after revamp

2018-10-18 10:30
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Did you know that South Africa has over 26 billion coins in circulation. Well you can find out all this and more as the South African Mint Museum is once again open, after an extensive 4-month-long revamp.

Set at the Old Johannesburg Road, Centurion site it has been enriched with artefacts and information about the world of numismatics. A big drawcard if you like to make rands and cents of things, enjoy collecting shiny coins or avidly follow the history of money and how payment systems have evolved over the centuries. 

The museum’s two distinct themes, circulation coins and collectables recreate South African history from the perspective of coins. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to become familiar with the history of circulations coins from the earliest times up to the present day and at the same time take the visitors on the journey from metallurgy to money. If you've held a magnet to an old R1 coin to test how much silver it contains, you'll understand what we mean. 

Expect to be greeted at the entrance by a large metal coil, rolled sheets from which blanks are actually produced for the circulation coins. Through this new display to the old pantograph, a device used in the manufacture of dies – the museum showcases via illustrations the meticulous and creative process behind minting circulation coins.

Keep an eye out for the  map that showcases the countries the Mint either supplied or is supplying coins to.

SA Mint

(Photo: Supplied) 

SA Mint

(Photo: Supplied)

The museum also features historical artefacts that tell the story of the humble beginnings of African currency and coins – from Katanga crosses, beads to spear points to Spanish silver reales, copper doits, silver ducatoons, Japanese koban, Russian roubles and several other coins accepted as legal tender.

A veritable treasure trove, the exhibits at the museum also include ancient coins dating back to the 1200s & 1600s which were discovered along the coast of Eastern Cape. The find is rare as there is no recorded history of coin usage in South Africa up until the 1650s.

One of the permanent displays includes the “Oom Paul” Minting Press, named after the then President Paul Kruger, leader of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR). One of the oldest presses in the world, it was built in 1891 and ordered by Kruger for use in the first mint established in Pretoria in 1892. “Oom Paul” was originally steam operated though modifications over the years have enabled it to work off electricity, and visitors can still see it in action to date.

The refurbished museum also features the design pieces commissioned for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Krugerrand.

Tumi Tsehlo, Managing Director, South African Mint says, "Coins shine a light on history so it’s our vision to use them to tell the story of South Africa and the South African Mint. From the discovery of gold in the 1800s to the county’s first black President, the mint’s coins have documented the ages like a true historian.” 

Visitors can buy coins from the on-site store which carries all the collectible coins produced by the Mint in 2017 and 2018. These include the centenary coins launched to commemorate the anniversaries of struggle veterans OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela as well as the world famous Krugerrand, which are also on display.

Book a free guided tour:  Contact details: +27 12 677 2482, or e-mail numismatics@samint.co.za

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